Distance sampling surveys: enabling better decision-making by wildlife managers (REF 2014)

Impact: Public Policy Impact, Environmental Impact


Reliable estimates of the size of natural populations are required by national and regional governments for management and conservation, by international commissions that manage natural resources, and by NGOs. Distance sampling, in which distances of animals from a line or point are sampled, is the most widely-applicable technique for obtaining such estimates. Statisticians at St Andrews are the acknowledged world-leaders in the development and dissemination of distance sampling survey methods. Their software Distance is the industry standard and has over 30,000 registered users from around 115 countries. The methodological developments and associated software have allowed better-informed decisions to be made in the management and conservation of populations as diverse as whales, seals, fish, elephants, apes, deer, birds, ants, trees and flowering plants.
Impact statusClosed
Category of impactPublic Policy Impact, Environmental Impact


  • REF2014 case study